AMES — Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads extended his hand.
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones took it, then listened.
“I told him I’m glad he’s graduating, because he’s a heck of a football player,” Rhoads said. “He really runs that offense and runs that show.”
Jones carved up the Cyclones’ defense for the third straight season, racking up 405 passing yards and four touchdowns as the BCS No. 12 Sooners rolled to a 35-20 Big 12 win before a spirited crowd of 56,585 Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
Landry-led Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1) converted nine of its first 12 third-down opportunities while notching its 14th straight win over ISU (5-4, 2-4).
Two of those third down plays turned into touchdowns.
“Our third down defense percentage was terrible,” Cyclone linebacker A.J. Klein said. “We can’t give up over 70 percent on third down. We can’t allow it. To win games we need to keep that below 50.”
Jones made that difficult, despite tossing up two interceptions to ISU’s Durrell Givens that led to first-half field goals.
The converted kicks by Edwin Arceo — from 27 and 51 yards — made the score 7-6 with 1:04 left in the first half.
It could have been more.
“We didn’t come away with two big field goals, we came away with field goals,” Rhoads said. “we didn’t come away with two big touchdowns.”
Jones came away with one.
After two running plays, he aired out a 40-yard sideline strike to Justin Brown, who twisted to grab it in front of backup cornerback Cliff Stokes’ tight one-on-one coverage.
That set Jones up for a 21-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills over veteran corner Jeremy Reeves 14 seconds from halftime.
“(Jones) was on point all game,” ISU nose tackle Jake McDonough said. “They came to play. We knew they would and we needed to figure out a way to respond. They just kept coming at us.”
A career rushing day from the Sooners’ third-string tailback Brennan Clay didn’t help matters, either.
Clay sliced for 157 yards and a touchdown — going more than 90 yards over his previous single-game career high.
“One of those deals where it’s next man up,” said Jones, who has thrown for 964 yards in three starts against the Cyclones.
Oklahoma ran 85 offensive plays to ISU’s 64.
Cyclone quarterback Steele Jantz completed 20-of-40 passes for 191 yards, no touchdowns and one late interception.
“I thought he played well,” Rhoads said. “He gave us an opportunity to be in it.”
The Cyclones converted 5-of-14 third-down situations, but that rate stood at 2-for-11 when the Sooners built a 35-13 lead on Stills’ second touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to keep the chains moving and if you keep the chains moving, next thing you know you’re in the end zone,” said ISU tailback James White, who rushed for 27 yards on four carries.
Dropped passes hurt for the second straight week.
They came from all angles — including Jarvis West, who also scored on a 19-yard end around that kept hope alive well into the third quarter.
“You’ve just got to catch the ball, simple as that,” White said.
The Sooners did, helping Jones climb to fifth all-time in NCAA passing at 14,792 yards.
Oklahoma outgained ISU 593 yards to 290 and improved to 20-0 since 2004 in regular season games following a loss.
“You can’t say woulda, coulda,” Klein said. “We just didn’t play up to par. We didn’t play well enough to win.”
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